I recently saw the following clip about credit unions on CBS Morning News. Jack Otter, executive editor at CBS MoneyWatch.com, provides a great overview of credit unions and why you might want to consider them for your banking needs.
Why choose a credit union?
I have used a credit union as my primary banking institution for close to 20 years now. I love it. Moving my banking there was one of the best financial decisions I have ever made.
You are an owner
One of the key differences between a bank and a credit union is that technically you are a part owner of the credit union. Speaking in generalities, it is my experience that banks (especially the large mega banks) are primarily concerned with making profits. Credit unions are more focused on providing service to their member owners. Certainly, there are exceptions to the rule in both directions, but in general this is what I have seen and a major reason I prefer credit unions.
Fees are a major reason I prefer credit unions. Honestly, I have almost never been charged a fee in the 20 years that I have been a credit union member, and the few times I do recall being charged a fee was far more to my doing something really dumb. I can guarantee that had I been a customer of a bank during those 20 years, I would have paid significantly more in fees.
While I do not advise you to go into debt, I have generally found the interest rates offered by my credit union to be very competitive. Again, as a member/owner, the focus is on providing the best service to the customers. This includes great rates.
All the features of a larger bank
I haven’t found any features that are offered by larger banks that I can’t get through my credit union. Online banking. Free online bill pay. Great apps for my mobile devices. Easy integration with other banking institutions. Variety of financial services available. I really don’t feel like I have missed anything by doing business with my credit union.
Credit Unions are insured through the National Credit Union Administration. The NCUA provides the exact same protection for your accounts that the FDIC provides in a traditional bank. If you are looking at moving to a credit union, make sure they are NCUA insured.
Credit Unions are a smart choice
I have never regretted choosing to do my banking through my credit union. They have always provided me with quick and courteous service. I think I have probably saved hundreds of dollars in fees over the years. And the services provided have always met my needs.
Obviously, as in any industry there are no doubt good and bad credit unions. You need to do your own research to make sure the credit union you are considering will meet your banking needs. If you are tired though of the “service” provided by your current bank, consider changing to a local credit union. I don’t think you will be disappointed.